Madness of jails – by Lord Chief Justice

England’s most senior judge has launched an unprecedented attack on the country’s creaking prison system, which he says is now so overcrowded that it is ‘difficult or impossible’ to rehabilitate prisoners.

In an exclusive interview in today’s Observer, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, the Lord Chief Justice, who is responsible for giving the views of the judiciary in England and Wales to the government, acknowledges jails are often used as little more than ‘social dustbins’ to house people with problems.

Phillips argues it is ‘madness to spend £37,000 jailing someone when, by spending much less on services in the community, you can do as good a job’. He is highly critical of what he sees as the underfunding
of community-based punishments and calls for better resources. ‘It’s no answer just to put more and more people in prison,’ he said.

Guardian Unlimited Politics | Special Reports | Madness of dustbin jails – by Lord Chief Justice


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